New Law Streamlines Environmental Review For NAVWAR Redevelopment
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Credit: Pool photo via 10News
The effort to transform the old NAVWAR facility in the Midway District has taken a major step forward. Gov. Gavin Newsom just signed legislation to streamline the environmental review process for the project.
At a Thursday morning news conference, the theme was jobs, jobs, jobs. Jobs that are dependent on the revitalization of the old NAVWAR facility. It’s hard to miss driving by on Pacific Highway, more than 70 acres containing a series of decades-old aircraft hangars housing about 5,000 workers.
AB 2731 — co-authored by San Diego Assemblyman Todd Gloria and State Senator Toni Atkins of San Diego — takes effect on Jan. 1, 2021. The law will allow SANDAG to use the Navy’s environmental review document instead of having to go through the usual California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process.
“In order to build a new cybersecurity facility for the Navy, a new central mobility hub linking various transit lines for the San Diego airport ... as well as needed housing units and retail space,” Gloria said.
Gloria said the project would not only keep the 5,000 current jobs in San Diego. He said it also has the potential to generate at least 16,000 new jobs, critical because of what the pandemic has done to our economy. The project would also provide housing for 27,000 people right next to mass transit.
But what about streamlining environmental review? Gloria said it does not mean anything goes.
“AB 2731 requires that any transit hub constructed on this site to still meet the high environmental benchmarks such as obtaining LEED gold certification, reducing vehicle miles traveled by 25% and that the project be greenhouse-gas neutral,” he said.
The Navy is expected to have its environmental document complete by early next year. After that, if they decide to move forward with SANDAG, the project could begin construction sometime next year, transforming a place that once turned out fighter planes in World War II into a world-class transit and cybersecurity facility.
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